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Page Turner Challenge: Picks

The Death Position by Elaine Bander

“Empty your mind,” said Rami, her voice like golden honey. “Let your thoughts float away like butterflies. Don’t try to control them. Breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth.”

I was breathing in the chemical scent of the scratchy orange carpet beneath my yoga mat, the bean casserole simmering in the kitchen beneath the studio, the scent of assorted bodies at the end of the class. My eyes were closed against the dim pot lights above, my hands and feet extended at my side, palms open, feet falling outward.

My thoughts were not butterflies. More like mosquitoes.

Beside me lay Cheryl, who had persuaded me to try this yoga class. “You’ll love it,” she had promised.  “Your body is so stretched and relaxed, your mind cleared. You feel reborn!” 

Well, my eyes were closed and my body relaxed, but my mind was tasting that bean stew downstairs. 

Finally Rami chanted a solemn, “Om shanti shanti shanti, adding quietly, “You may open your eyes and slowly sit up now.”

I sat up.  So did everyone else. Almost everyone, that is.  Cheryl still lay on her mat beside me, eyes closed, arms out, index fingers and thumbs touching.  Really into the spiritual stuff, I figured, so I sat on my mat and waited for her to open her eyes. 

Then I realized that Cheryl wasn’t breathing in through her nose and out through her mouth.  She wasn’t relaxed or reborn. She was very dead.

Elaine Bander is from Montreal, QC

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